The Good, Bad and Ugly

I love airplanes, small ones, big ones, cramped, spacious -- airplanes represent freedom and travel and anticipation and yearning and sadness and loss. Despite rising airfare and ridiculous charges for EVERYTHING, I still love flying. Last night we left Kona Airport for Houston via Phoenix on US Airways. It wasn't too crowded, so my husband actually got to move to another seat so that we could all spread out. Sweet! Except that 2 1/2 hours into our flight, the captain comes on and says we have a mechanical problem and we're flying back to Honolulu, another 2 1/2 hours away. Yes, safety, I'm all for safety so this is actually THE GOOD. US Airways rocks. The people on the phone are not cocky like Hawaiian Air (yes, my son works for Hawaiian, and I tell him all the time that they are rude, obnoxious and cruel to their customers), the people on the ground (contracted from Hawaiian) are pleasant and accommodating, and the agents in Honolulu were very helpful and calming. We got our new flight on Continental, they put us up at an Outrigger Ohana hotel, gave us vouchers for food, and they really took care of those of us that either needed a wheelchair (us) or needed extra tlc like the 3 kids that were traveling as unaccompanied minors. I'm not their mom and I was freaking out about these kids because I'm sure their parents were just sick with worry. We weren't back in Kona where their grandparents could pick them up and they weren't in Arizona with their parents. I don't know what happened to the kids because they went on different transports with one of the agents, but I think they're ok.

THE BAD Budget keeps abusing us and we still go back to them. As soon as we got our new flights, we called the hotel and the rental car to tell them that we'd be late to check in and pick up our car (less than 24 hours). Budget wanted to charge us an extra $400.00 even if we were still willing to pay for the whole contract and pay for the day that it was going to sit in their lot. Then when my husband asked to speak to a manager, he was transferred to a marketing agent who tried to sell him membership in a travel program. WHAT??!!! Four phone calls, and 2 hours later, he finally cancelled our rental and went back online and re-rented it for $40 more (not $400). Three hours later, Justin, the customer service manager with Budget finally called and said that we would get reimbursed for the extra we have to pay for the car. That's all good and fine, Justin, but we'll see it when we see it. My husband is a long-time fastbreak member. He only uses Budget for his business and personal rentals, and this is not the first time that he has had to do battle with Budget. We'll see.

The Ugly - Ok, I'm sorry for not taking a pic of this lady, but this prima donna chick in row 14 - ugh. She's perfectly fine on the outside, but her ano (her inner aura or essence) was just so rancid. She actually made the whole plane wait for her because she was fussing with her bag, then when we had to deplane, again, waiting for her. She had choken bags, had to get herself and her little girl a porter, refused to go down the escalator and took the elevator that we were waiting for (remember we have a wheel chair). She wouldn't go on the buses with everyone else and wanted two rooms. Remember she was flying coach, and her daughter is like my younger son's age (he was wheeling grandma around and still carrying his backpack). I felt only pity. Life is really hard sometimes. Ugly is also the fact that my husband and the hotel van driver took every single bag off the van while all the other men stood around and waited.

Aloha lives and returns the favor. We ended up first in line at the hotel and we have great rooms. Today is a glass 3/4 full kind of day. We missed my middle son's first scrimmage in Houston, but hey, we're still together, he knows we'll be there soon and we can still make it to the tournament.


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